THE mum of a child with special educational needs says she has been left in limbo after the school he was due to transfer to in September withdrew its offer.

The parents of Harley Castell, who attends Hadleigh Junior School and lives in Leigh, received a letter from Southend Council in February detailing how his special educational needs plan would be transferred to The King John School, in Thundersley, from September.

But to the horror of Harley’s mum, Kate Charles, she has now received a phone call from Hadleigh Junior School to say they had been informed by the King John School that he does not now have a place at the school.

Harley is classed as having special educational needs because he has speech and language difficulties.

Kate, 29, said: “Harley is gutted. He chose the school where his friends are going to go. He finds it hard to make new friends.

“You can imagine this is quite upsetting for any child let alone one with developmental and confidence issues.

“I was told by Hadleigh Juniors that when they tried to transfer over his education, health and care plan details to King John they said there was no record of him due to attend there.

"After I called King John and someone got back to me I was advised the way things are meant to work for children with an educational, care and health plan who were looking to attend.

“They also said they had previously responded before lockdown to Southend Council saying they didn’t deem the school appropriate for our son because of his needs.”

The February letter from the educational healthcare plan case officer at the council’s special educational needs team, which the Echo has seen, states that Harley’s plan had been sent to The King John School and that arrangements to meet the headteacher were being made.

The letter further states the care plan would be under review after a year to ensure that Harley’s needs are being met.

She has since been contacted by email by the King John School admissions team - seen by the Echo - which outlines the school’s reasons for not admitting Harley and advises her to contact Southend’s special educational needs team to further discuss the situation.

Harley’s parents have made several attempts to contact the council on the matter but say they are yet to receive a response.

Mum Kate added: “After several phone calls and emails to numerous places including Southend’s educational needs team, his key worker and both schools, there is no further information on our son’s future.

“We haven’t had any responses at all from the council, even his primary school has tried to make contact. Hadleigh Juniors has advised us to look for other schools but they are not open due to the pandemic.

“Even if they were open I would need the council to agree the setting and pass across the relevant paperwork specific to my son’s educational healthcare plan.”

Kate has been in touch with Sir David Amess MP and is considering having to home school Harley.

The King John School did not respond to a request for comment but the Echo has seen correspondence between the school and Ms Charles

A spokesman for Hadleigh Junior School said: “The school has supported the family throughout this difficult situation and will continue to do so.”

Southend Council was asked for a comment by the Echo before we went to press.